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This was our 2nd ever cruise, both of which were on the Carnival Liberty. My wife and I took our first (honeymoon) cruise in October 2011 on the Carnival Liberty, so we have a special bond with this ship. I believe our 2nd trip on the Liberty was even better than the first since we already knew the layout of the ship and knew what to expect. I'll start with the food. OUT OF THIS WORLD. I don't know how Carnival does it, but everything is top notch quality. Honestly, there wasn't anything that I didn't like. They have breakfast buffets, lunch buffets, a deli, a pizza place (open 24 hours), a Mexican bar with burritos and tacos (better than Chipotle), Guy's burger and fries (best burgers you've ever had), and of course fine dining in the evenings at the main dining rooms. They have an upscale steakhouse on board that is $35 per person but we didn't feel the need to visit with all of the other food available. They also have a speciality coffee bar that costs extra but regular coffee is free. Second, gratuities. If you do not prepay gratuities, Carnival automatically bills them to your sign and sail card when you board the ship at a "suggested" rate of $11.50 per person per day. They do not inform you of this charge until sign and sail receipts are given on the last day, so be aware. If you would like to change/remove the gratuities, all you have to do is go to the customer service desk and talk with them. I honestly think you would be better off removing all of the gratuities and simply giving cash to your steward and dining room attendant to be sure that they receive their tips. I have read that Carnival uses their own discretion when allocating tips based on a worker's performance, which I do not think is really fair given the fact that the cruiser should be the one in control of that. The ship itself is a $500 million ship and is out of this world. The decor and main lobby really are breath-taking. They have chandeliers that change colors, glass elevators, mosaic tile murals etc. You will love this ship. If you are a recovering alcoholic like me, be aware that this is a "fun" ship, which for many, includes a lot of alcohol. There is a lot of drinking that goes on on the ship but the trip is what you make it. Just know that you will be offered drinks as there are servers walking around nearly at all times selling drinks. There is plenty to do for families and for those who don't drink, so don't think that this is just a party ship. Like I said, it is what you make it and a LOT of fun can be had without having to drink the entire time. By the way, we chose the anytime dining option but were given the late dining (8:15 PM) option on the ship. We went to guest services to try to get this changed, but the informed us that they would not be able to change our dining time for some reason. I am not really sure why this happened but it was somewhat of a bummer since we like to be more spontaneous/free with our vacation time than on a strict schedule. I noticed that dinners took sometimes nearly 1 hr. 45 min. from start to finish, which I thought was really quite longer than our anytime dining experience on our first cruise. i thought maybe the mass amount of people scheduled for the same time accounted for longer waiting times than simply arriving to dinner anytime. I feel so at home on the Liberty. Our cruise director Cory was nothing short of amazing and our trip was very smooth overall.

Simply the best...

Carnival Liberty Cruise Review by rnwks2008

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2014
  • Destination: Bahamas
This was our 2nd ever cruise, both of which were on the Carnival Liberty. My wife and I took our first (honeymoon) cruise in October 2011 on the Carnival Liberty, so we have a special bond with this ship. I believe our 2nd trip on the Liberty was even better than the first since we already knew the layout of the ship and knew what to expect.
I'll start with the food. OUT OF THIS WORLD. I don't know how Carnival does it, but everything is top notch quality. Honestly, there wasn't anything that I didn't like. They have breakfast buffets, lunch buffets, a deli, a pizza place (open 24 hours), a Mexican bar with burritos and tacos (better than Chipotle), Guy's burger and fries (best burgers you've ever had), and of course fine dining in the evenings at the main dining rooms. They have an upscale steakhouse on board that is $35 per person but we didn't feel the need to visit with all of the other food available. They also have a speciality coffee bar that costs extra but regular coffee is free.
Second, gratuities. If you do not prepay gratuities, Carnival automatically bills them to your sign and sail card when you board the ship at a "suggested" rate of $11.50 per person per day. They do not inform you of this charge until sign and sail receipts are given on the last day, so be aware. If you would like to change/remove the gratuities, all you have to do is go to the customer service desk and talk with them. I honestly think you would be better off removing all of the gratuities and simply giving cash to your steward and dining room attendant to be sure that they receive their tips. I have read that Carnival uses their own discretion when allocating tips based on a worker's performance, which I do not think is really fair given the fact that the cruiser should be the one in control of that.
The ship itself is a $500 million ship and is out of this world. The decor and main lobby really are breath-taking. They have chandeliers that change colors, glass elevators, mosaic tile murals etc. You will love this ship.
If you are a recovering alcoholic like me, be aware that this is a "fun" ship, which for many, includes a lot of alcohol. There is a lot of drinking that goes on on the ship but the trip is what you make it. Just know that you will be offered drinks as there are servers walking around nearly at all times selling drinks. There is plenty to do for families and for those who don't drink, so don't think that this is just a party ship. Like I said, it is what you make it and a LOT of fun can be had without having to drink the entire time.
By the way, we chose the anytime dining option but were given the late dining (8:15 PM) option on the ship. We went to guest services to try to get this changed, but the informed us that they would not be able to change our dining time for some reason. I am not really sure why this happened but it was somewhat of a bummer since we like to be more spontaneous/free with our vacation time than on a strict schedule. I noticed that dinners took sometimes nearly 1 hr. 45 min. from start to finish, which I thought was really quite longer than our anytime dining experience on our first cruise. i thought maybe the mass amount of people scheduled for the same time accounted for longer waiting times than simply arriving to dinner anytime.
I feel so at home on the Liberty. Our cruise director Cory was nothing short of amazing and our trip was very smooth overall.
rnwks2008’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8242
We booked a guaranteed interior cabin and let Carnival select our room for us. When we arrived at the port, we were notified that our room would be 8242 on the Verandah deck, which I thought was a huge upgrade from our first cruise (ocean view room on deck 1). The room was a bit smaller than the ocean-view room but was very comfortable and homey. They pushed the twin beds together for my wife and I, which was very comfortable to say the least. The beds have down pillows/blankets and are very well kept. There is also ample closet space, which was really nice for storing luggage.
  Carnival Liberty Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Freeport
    We took a taxi to Port Lucaya marketplace, which is where all the main shops are. There is a taxi cab booth across the street once you debark the ship. We were charged $10 per person (roundtrip) for a 20 minute ride to Port Lucaya. Port Lucaya itself was very clean with lots of shopping booths. They had both local and commercial style shops. The locals were still fairly aggressive with sales techniques but much less so than Nassau. I noticed people were much friendlier and laid back in Freeport than in Nassau. The beach was a pretty big let down as it is very commercialized and difficult to find a place to sit down without being bothered by someone trying to sell something or without renting a chair, although walking further down we were able to find a somewhat quiet location where we were left alone for the most part. They have lots of water sports available on the beach so if you are looking for an adventure, you can find it here. I wouldn't book them through Carnival either as there are many vendors waiting for you on the beach and you can save a lot by doing it independently.
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  • Half Moon Cay
    Half Moon Cay was our first stop. I had never been to the Bahamas but did not know what to expect. This is Carnival's private island and was the best stop of the trip. We had to dock a little ways out so a ferry was needed to reach the island. We were able to get onto the ferry directly from the boat, which only took about 5 minutes to arrive. Since this is a private island, there weren't any overly aggressive locals trying to sell you anything, which was really nice. They have a large beach area with free chairs (but get there early because the beach quickly fills up). There are also private cabanas for rent as well as a very unique sunken pirate ship themed bar/restaurant. There is a small church on the island where vow renewals can be done and a "nature trail" throughout the island that is very relaxing. We saw wild lizard and chickens on our hike. A buffet lunch is provided by Carnival on the island free of charge, which was a huge bonus for us. Overall, the water was the clearest/bluest water I have ever seen! The island is simply beautiful and as close to paradise as you are going to get.
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  • Nassau
    You have to walk a bit to get past all of the cruise ships and into the main market area. When we arrived to the main area, there were locals waiting ready to make their sales. They were fairly aggressive, but overall, at least somewhat friendly. If you say "no thank you" they will look away from you very quickly and move on to the next tourist. The country was much poorer than I had originally imagined, but then again, Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and has a very "city/urban" feel to it, which I am not really accustomed to. There were many stands within the main area after getting off of the ship, one of which was for booking tours of the island. There was no posted price for tours but we were given the price of $25 per person for a 2 hour tour of the island, which I thought was fair. I'm sure I could have haggled but did not really feel the need to haggle with someone less fortunate than me when the price was already fair. This was my first excursion booked independently and I don't regret it. I would not book an excursion independently if I was going to be alone/not around other tourists, but I felt plenty safe enough booking this tour since I was going to be on a taxi bus with lots of other passengers. The taxi itself was run-down with no air conditioning but our guide was very kind and informative. He took us to an old fort and allowed us to get out and walk around for a little bit (it was an additional $1 to enter the fort area). He took us past Anna Nicole Smith's grave site and the hospital her daughter was born at (also the hospital where her son unfortunately passed away). He also took us up to Atlantis, but nobody in the taxi wanted to walk around so the trip was cut a bit short. He took us through "the hood" to show everyone what a hard life was like on the island and to help everyone be thankful for what they have. Honestly, this part of the tour was a bit frightening but equally sad. People sometimes walked up to the taxi to ask the driver for money. There were times that felt somewhat dangerous at red lights, but thankfully, the "hood" portion of the tour did not last very long. Also, if it is your first time on the island, I would NOT recommend renting a car. People drove like lunatics on the island and there were constant round-abouts. Of course you drive on the left side of the road in the Bahamas as well and there is a lot of traffic, all of which makes it quite nerve-wracking to navigate the island, even in a taxi. Most people seem to do what they want when driving and don't always pay attention to traffic laws.By the way, it is really surprisingly difficult to find a bathroom on the island. If you are near the main shops, the "John Bull" mall area has a bathroom in the back of the store.
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